Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I don't believe in ghosts for a pretty simple reason: When I started taking medication for my bipolar disorder, the hallucinations I'd had since childhood (which I never knew were hallucinations, of course) stopped. Just like that. The sights, sounds and feelings people typically associate with hauntings (seeing and hearing things, extrasensory blah-blah) were absolutely normal occurrences for me, pre-Lithium.

Also, paranormal and demonology studies all seem to hinge on faith. The truer your faith in good spirits, the better off you'll be fighting the bad ones. Skeptics and Clerics alike agree that sometimes people need to see "good magic", in the form of exorcism (or any manner of folk medicine beat-it-bad-spirit ceremonies) in order to end the paranormal activity. It's a win-win: the subject chills the fuck out and the subject has newly-invigorated faith which gets them back in church.

I'm Jewish and don't believe in angels, ghosts, demons, magic, Tinkerbell or Santa Claus. Although I will concede that we humans have puny brains that likely cannot fathom the nature of a supernatural being, so I'm open to being proved wrong.

That said, I absolutely do believe in Hell and I do believe in Evil. I just happen to think both exist in the here and now — It won't take you but a moment to come up with very real examples of both. How it usually ends is by killing the evil person or people responsible for the abuse, torture, killing, murder, genocide, etc. Like excising a cancer. They are human beings that we recognize and understand and we know how to defeat them.

Are we serious in thinking that waving a crucifix around and mumbling at a supernatural being who boasts incredible skills like invisibility and telekinesis is going to be effective? Can you tell I have suspension-of-disbelief problems?

If I were to become a ghost when I die, instead of being zapped into universal energy, I think I would do something other than throw plates around some Catholic family's house. Perhaps stupid people become stupid ghosts? Anyway, I would do my best to protect my family in perpetuity, "guardian angel"-style. How about you?

Sidebar: People in the business of fighting ghosts, demons, or bad spirits will tell you that the evil in question draws strength from your fear and from the attention you pay it.

You know what? The same holds true for people in the news. The more we crack jokes and trade gossip about the celebs/trainwrecks/whomever, the higher their dirty, evil stars rise. So from now on, I won't mention a single festering butt sore of an interweb entertainment celebrity, under any circumstance. I urge you to do the same.

Together, with a little faith, we can defeat them!

My ghost story:

I moved into a rental house where the previous owner had died. Seems the secretly-alcoholic housewife went on a bender, fell down the steep basement steps and hit her head against the wall, knocking her unconscious. No one was there to help her and she died. The elderly neighbor who told me the tragic story warned me the house was haunted by the poor woman.

I didn't repeat the story, because I am not a superstitious person. I had zero weird or creepy experiences in that house, outside of dealing with my then-husband.

My friend Arturo came over for a dinner party one winter night. Arturo is half-Mexican, half-Navajo and all-superstitious. When he arrived, he was smiling, handed me a bottle of Cazadores Reposado (my fave), and stepped into the house with his girlfriend. He barely got past the guest bathroom before freezing in place. His girlfriend covered her mouth with her hands. I caught up to him and touched his arm. This man, all 250 lbs of solid beat-you-down muscle, was trembling. He looked like he saw a ...

Arturo and his girlfriend fled the party and he vowed not to return to my house until I promised to let him burn some sage. I needed his help on my 'zine, so I told him to ignite my whole Dean and Deluca spice rack, if he wanted. Not funny, I was told. But really, once that ceremony was over he never mentioned the ghost and spent many long nights working in the basement, a yard away from where the poor woman met her demise.

Got a ghost story?

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